Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Ports and Harbours, Hon. Datti Garaba Muhammad, says the committee will intervene in the lingering court case between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Rivers Port Complex and the BUA terminal operators.
The chairman said the committee’s intervention would save the situation and improve business activities in the complex.
Hon. Muhammad spoke to newsmen in Port Harcourt while on an oversight function to the NPA, Rivers Port Complex, last Tuesday.
Accompanied by other members, Muhammad said:“We are here to hear the challenges, we want them to furnish us with details of the agreement, we want to see the concession agreement between NPA and BUA terminal”.
He said the committee was ready to bring peace between both parties so as to improve on the revenue accrued to the government.
Muhammad disclosed that both parties had approached the Federal High Court and Court of Arbitration in London over the issue.
He said as a committee, it is their responsibility to oversee both the NPA and the terminal operators doing business in the port complex.
Speaking earlier, the Port Manager, Rivers Port Complex, Engr. Yunusa Ibrahim Anji, had told the committee that NPA had decommissioned berth 8, which collapsed some months ago.
Berth 8 is being operated by BUA terminal operators.
The manager appealed to the committee to intervene in the lingering issue as it is affecting its revenue.
He said the collapse of the berth and the legal tussle between NPA and the operator were greatly affecting maritime activities in the port.
The manager said Rivers Port Complex is one of the ports with the highest numbers of private jetties, explaining that the port has over 36 private jetties across the state.
Free Trade Zone Scheme Remains Presidential Initiative – NEPZA
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), says the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) scheme in the country is a presidential initiative aimed at propelling economic growth through local production.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, NEPZA Managing Director said this while speaking with some operators of enterprises in the Calabar free trade zone in Cross Rivers State capital during an official tour of the zone.
Adesugba in a statement by Mr Martins Odeh, the Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA on Thursday said that President Muhammadu Buhari was fully committed to ensuring the success of the scheme.
He said that the Federal Government was aware of the challenges associated with zones’ operations, adding that it considered the prospects and gains to far out-weigh those challenges.
Adesugba, however, said the public and private sectors must agree to work together to jointly solve some of the problems negating the smooth operations of the scheme in the country.
According to him, arrangement to upgrade electricity supplies to both Calabar and Kano free trade zones directly managed by the government has reached advance stage.
“The private zones are gradually out-growing the challenges of power and water supplies; the president is, therefore, committed to making the public zones enjoy similar infrastructural stability,” he said.
He said enterprises in the zones must be allowed to enjoy free tax regime as advocated by the drafters of the concept.
“We must ensure that the public understands the true meaning of the scheme which is simply a business enclave out of the customs area.
“The enterprises operating in the zones are not taxable. This is an aspect where the various tax agencies must come to terms with.
“The scheme could affect government revenue generation in a short term, but will boost local production, create employment, attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for industrialisation in the long run,” the managing director said.
Furthermore, the NEPZA boss urged the staff of the authority in the zone to develop a renewed vigour toward helping in executing the agency’s mandate.
He said that the management would no longer condone ineptitude behaviour from any members of the workforce.
Adesugba, who assumed office as Chief Executive Officer of the authority about three months ago, had embarked on similar familiarisation tour to Kano and Lagos zones respectively.
LG Boss Ready To Pay Workers’ Salary Arrears
The Chairman of Ahoada West Local Government Area, Evang. Hope Ikiriko, has vowed to pay salary arrears of all the council staff whose salaries were stopped after verification of their employment and postings are authenticated by the Local Government Service Commission.
This came as a reaction to the strike threat by the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in Rivers State for the stoppage of salaries of about 110 workers of the council on the ground of alleged ghost workers.
Ikiriko, who disclosed this while reacting to the issue in an interaction with journalists in Port Harcourt recently, noted that the council discovered some discrepancies in the employment of some of these workers during staff audit.
“The council decided to embark on the staff verification because when I came on board as the council chairman, I discovered that the number of staff that came to work was between 20 to 50 persons.
“In the council payroll, we had about 1, 600 workers who are paid salaries every month, and how can we continue to pay salaries to this number of staff, and we had to set up a committee to verify those who are genuine workers of the council.
“This process revealed a lot of things, where some people claiming to be staff were not dully employed, infact they do not have authentic papers or document to back up their claims.
“Some of them on their own took over the position of their dead relatives, while some did not even know the procedure of employment and transfer, especially those of them that claim to come on transfer from other local government area” Ikiriko vowed.
By: Corlins Walter
FRSC To Clampdown On Traffic Offenders In Rivers
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has threatened to clampdown on all those that disregard road traffic rules, particularly those that make phone calls while driving and one-way drive.
FRSC says that making phone calls while driving is a very serious offence, and that those that will be caught from now will be arrested and made to go for Psychological Examination.
The Rivers State Sector Commander of FRSC, Salisu Umaru, who made this known in a media interaction in Port Harcourt Monday, noted that the command was not happy with the way some people disobeyed traffic signs and laws.
According to him, the sector is embarking on the ‘ember’ months enlightenment and enforcement campaign where all the machineries of FRSC will be fully mobilised to work.
“I don’t like the way some people drive in Rivers state. You see people driving one-way, not obeying traffic signs and laws, making phone calls while driving.
“ We want to stop these things in Rivers state. We will arrest and send offenders on psychology examination to ascertain why they do such things.
“ Psychological examination is not the same thing as Psychiatric examination. We are to do preventive enforcement on all Nigerian roads, whether federal or state.
“FRSC is not all about enforcement, but we do corrections.There are times we caution offenders without booking them, and that is official for us”, Umaru said. On why the FRSC made serious checks on vehicle plate numbers, the sector boss explained that the purpose was purely for security, to check criminal activities on vehicle procurement, and also those that used them for crime.
The FRSC sector boss also said that his corps were coming up with some help areas where people that have one problem or the other on the road could be attended to, with ambulance stationed there.
He said that the state government has been notified of the intentions, which according to him, was geared towards safety of lives on the road.
By: Corlins Walter
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